Friday, 27 January 2012

Daily Roundup - 27/01/12


Bianchi Joins Force India - Jules Bianchi has joined Force India as their third driver for the 2012 season. more info here:

Marussia will not run KERS in 2012 - Russian team Marussia will not be running a KERS system on their 2012 car. The decision has been made so they can focus development on other areas for more long term benefits. Team Lotus (now Caterham) had a similar approach to their 2011 season.


Pirelli to offer feeder series prize fund - Pirelli will award the 2012 GP3 champion 200,000 if he manages to graduate to the GP2 series for 2012. The prize winner will also take part in a winter GP2 test. Inaugural GP3 champion Esteban Gutierrez graduated immediatley GP2. 2011 champion Valtteri Bottas however will not, choosing to focus on an F1 reserve role with Williams.

Grand Am

Ryan Dalziel/Starworks on pole for the Daytona 24 Hours - Scot Ryan Dalziel grabbed pole for this years Daytona 24 Hours with a time of 1 Minute 41.119. The Riley-Ford, being shared with Allan McNish, Lucas Luhr, Alex Popow and Enzo Potolicchio will start alongside Max Angelelli, Ryan Briscoe and Ricky Taylors' Corvette DP. Gt pole was taken by Andrew Davis, who will share his Brumos Porsche with Marc Lieb, Leh Keen and Hurley Haywood.


Timing and Tracking to return for Sweden - The World Rally Championship's regular timing and tracking equipment will return for next week's Rally Sweden. The regular systems, provided by Stage 1 Technology were not present at Rallye Monte Carlo due to series promotor North One Sports going into administration the week before the event. A very unreliable system using nearby mobile phone signals was used instead in Monte Carlo. "The tracking system was quite difficult. For example, when Jari-Matti (Latvala) went off the road, we didn't know what had happened because the system had gone down again." Exclaimed Ford team principle Malcom Wilson with regards to the Monte Carlo System.


Heidfeld to Rebellion? -  F1 star Nick Heidfeld looks set to race in the new World Endurance Championship for Rebellion this year.

The former Williams, BMW and Lotus Renault racer was left without a seat for 2012 after being replaced by Bruno Senna (who subsequently left for Williams) part way through the 2011 season. It was expected that he may return to former employers BMW driving one of their 6 DTM entries but the 6th car was taken earlier this month with the confirmation of Dirk Werner. An official announcement is expected on February the 2nd when the official entry list for the WEC is released by organisers ACO.


Lea Wood to race Vectra in 2012 - Privateer Lea Wood will switch to a turbocharged Vauxhall Vectra for 2012. The car, a 3 time race winner with Andrew Jordan, replaces his ageing Honda Intera that is no longer eligible for championship points.

Movement at Ferrari

Bianchi impressed during young driver tests in 2009, '10 and '11
Ferrari Academy and Formula One reserve driver Jules Bianchi was today confirmed as third driver for Sahara Force India for the 2012 season. He will also take part in atleast 9 Friday practice sessions.

The Frenchman, 22 has been part of Ferrari's young driver development program since 2009 having been the first member. He will stay part of the initative but will no longer be a feature in Ferrari's F1 team meaning their number of drivers appears to have now decreased to 6. (Alonso, Massa, Fisichella, Gene, Rigon & Bertolini).

Bigger role for Rigon in 2012
Bianchi was on a training camp in the Canary Isles this week along with race drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa and (former) fellow development driver Davide Rigon. Rigon, who missed most of last year due to a horrific leg injury sustained at Istanbul in a GP2 race last year has now been given a bigger role within the team and will be on call for all demonstrative and promotional activities in 2012 and 2013. “I am very happy to have extended my connection to the most important team in Formula 1,” said the 25 year old Venice native. “This is a great boost for my future after what was a difficult 2011: Ferrari always stood by me... I hope to be able to repay them for the faith they showed in me.” 

Meanwhile, Marc Gene completed important simulator work for the team in Maranello today whilst Giancarlo Fisichella and Andrea Bertolini are over in America competiong in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. All the drivers (besides Bianchi who will be at Silverstone for the Force India Launch) will be back together on the 3rd of February for the launch of Ferrari's new F1 challenger in Maranello.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Barichello to test Indy Car next week

The most experienced Formula One driver in history will get behind the wheel of an Indy Car next week in Florida.

The test next Tuesday and Wednesday at Sebring will be in a Chevrolet powered KV Racing car alongide fellow Brazilian and good friend Tony Kanaan. KV Racing aim to run 3 cars in the 2012 IZOD Indy Car season.

The test comes after Barichello previously claimed he would not go to Indy Car and race on American ovals.

Daily Roundup - 24/01/12


CT01 launched - Caterham unveild their 2012 car today, one day earlier than initially planned.

The Renault engined CT01 is photographed featuring what has been dubbed 'the platypus nose' due to the fact new for 2012 stipulate that noses must be lower. The car also features a Red Bull Racing style airbox hole at the rear of the car. The CT01 also uses a Red Bull gearbox.

New for 2012 Pirelli tyre markings revealed -  Pirelli, Formula One's sole tyre supplier revealed the markings used to distinguish between compounds for 2012. The P-Zero remains the name of the dry weather tyres with red (super soft), yellow (soft), white (medium) and silver (hard) being used. The silver is infact darker and more grey like for this season to make it easier to tell appart from the medium compound tyre. Larger lettering will also be used on the new tyres.

Unlike last season, the wet tyre will be presented as a different tyre altogether. Instead of adopting the P-Zero moniker used on all dry compound tyres, the wet tyres will be called Cinturato. A brand that made the company famous in the '50s.


2013 Ford hits the track - After being unveiled yesterday, Ford's new for 2013 Sprint Cup car hit the track for a few reconnaissance laps with Roush Fenway stars Ricky Stenhouse Jr and  Greg Biffle behind the wheel.

The 2013 Sprint Cup cars aim to look more like their road going counterparts. Ford's racer is based on the new Ford Fusion that was unveild recently at the Detroit Autoshow.


MG Return - Triple Eight Race Engineering will run an MG works effort in 2012 with Jason Plato and Andy Neate driving. More info here -

MG Return to the BTCC

MG today announced their return to the BTCC for the first time since Jason Hughes ran a privateer car back in 2008 running under the MG KX Momentum Racing banner. The 2 car effort will be run by ex Vauxhall works team, Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The cars will be MG's new MG6 GT built to the BTCC's NGTC specification with double BTCC champion and record race winner Jason Plato leading the charge. Andy Neate will also be on board in the team's second car. The road going MG6 was designed and engineered in Birmingham despite the company now being Chinese owned. Plato commented "I think it's going to be fantastic and it's great for British motorsport." the announcement also marks the return of Plato to Triple Eight after a 10 year absence with spells at Seat and RML Chevrolet.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Daily Roundup - 24/01/12


Kimi Raikkonen's Renault test continues - Kimi Raikkonen returned to the track in Valencia today for another day behind the wheel of a 2010 spec Renault R30 Chassis. Today the focus was on longer fuel runs to help him to adjust to life without re-fueling. Camber changes and starts were also worked on.

Seat fittings - Nico Rosberg of Mercedes AMG and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa all had seat fittings today in preperation for the new season. Alonso and Massa also spent time with their engineers before heading of to an intense training camp in the Canary Isles along with test and development drivers Jules Bianchi and Davide Rigon. 

Image Credit -
D'Ambrosio takes 3rd driver role at Lotus - Returning to his previous role with the team once known as Renault, Jerome D'Ambrosio was today confirmed as Lotus' 3rd driver. He will be attending all grand prix and will be ready to stand in for race drivers Kimi Raikkonen ad Romain Grosjean if needed. It is unknown if he will have any Friday outings at all.

Marussia to skip first test - Despite confirming that they would be at the first pre season test in Jerez with their 2011 car to give newcommer Charles Pic valuable seat time, Marussia have now confirmed they will skip the first test completley to focus on their 2012 car. Marussia will now run their 2011 car, The MV-02, at the second test, before finally introducing the new car at the final test on the 1st of March.


Image credit - SPEED TV
Danica Patrick to skip 2012 Indy 500 - Danica Patrick will miss this years Indy 500 in order to focus on the Coca Cola 600 NASCAR Sprint Cup race which takes place on the same day in Charlotte, NC. Despite showing strong desire to take part in America's premier single seater event, she has ruled it out for 2012. However, she has not ruled out competing in it alongside the the NASCAR event in future seasons. "I hope to do it in the future. Maybe it'll be a double" The Wisconsin native told reporters.

Le Mans

Toyota expands LMP1 program - Toyota announced today they will be expanding their new LMP1 sports car program from one car to two. Driving one of the Petrol/electric Toyota TS030s are former F1 drivers Alexander Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima with 2005/06 A1GP champion Nicolas Lapierre. No drivers have been confirmed for the second car but Formula Nippon racer Hiroaki Ishiura has tested the new coupe and Toro Rosso F1 refugee Sebastien Buemi has shown an interest in an LMP program for 2012.

Image Credit - Autosport
21 year old Italian Andrea Caldarelli has joined the team as Young driver. He will attend all races and do simulator work to get him used to endurance racing having come from a single seater background in GP3 and Formula Nippon amongst others.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Gene wows crowds in Qatar

Picture credit - F1 & Ferrari Spa
Marc Gene became the first of Scuderia Ferrari's stable of drivers to get behind the wheel of an F1 car in 2012 with a demonstration run in a 2008 F2008 in Qatar in an event organised by Ferrari corparate partner Shell and the Qatar motorshow.

20,000 people turned out to see the Spaniard drive Ferrari's last championship winning car, the car that took the constructors title in '08, along the seafront of the capital, Doha.

“It was a very interesting day: demonstrating a Formula 1 car in such a beautiful setting was really enjoyable for me,” Marc said after his run. “It’s great to bring our sport so close to the people, especially in a country that has never seen any F1"

Ferrari's 2012 car will be launched on the 3rd of February.

Back on the WRC Calendar, Monte Carlo 2012 (Brief Roundup)

Returning for the first time since 2008 The Monte Carlo Rally opened the 2012 season with style.

With the off season changes for Ogier, moving to VW; Hirvonen to Citroen and Petter Solberg's return to Ford, 'Monte' was always going to be interesting.

The loss of the promoter failed to dampen the spirits of the competitors and organisers and the event kicked off it's 5 day marathon last Wednesday with Loeb first on the road due to his champion status.

Ford hope to challenge in 2012
The record 8 time champion got off to a great start but was overshadowed by the great performance of Ford's #1, Finn Jari-Matti Latvala. He led throughout most of the day thanks to an unorthodox tyre strategy with 2 regular and 2 sutded tyres fitted to the car diagonal to each other. That was until he rolled of the road on the final stage of day 1 whilst leading by half a minute.

With Latvala out of the equation, Loeb took off and looked unstopable. He took the win with a lead of 2 minutes and 45 seconds also setting the fastest time on Sunday's power stage to claim the maximum 28 points from the event.

Volkswagen's Sebatien Ogier had a fantastic rally in the non turbocharched S2000 spec Skoda Fabia. he ran as high as 3rd, mixing it with the more powerful WRC cars before he too crashed out of the event on SS10. He was 6th at the time of the accident, one described as substantial. Co-driver Julien Ingrassia was reported to have an injred arm but he will be fit for the next round in Sweden.

The remaining poduim positions were fought over between Miko Hirvonen of Citroen, Soberg of ford and the Prodrive built MINI of Spaniard Dani Sordo. Sordo impressed in what is still a relatively new car (it only completed a handful of events in '11) whilst Hirvonen and Solberg put in some fantastic performances despite being their first rally in their respective cars.

The Prodrive built MINI Surprised many
Ultimatley, Sordo claimed a shock second despite damaging his car's suspension oin the first day, Solberg had his best ever start to a WRC season with 3rd and Hirvonen finished 4th after stage wins on Friday and Saturday. However, he could've had a shot at 3rd if it wasn't for a spin on Saturday afternoon.

Pictures: Autosport International 2012 - Not actual cars or photographs from the rally.

PLEASE NOTE: This is only a brief summary. More indepth reviews may appear as the season progresses

The Iceman commeth...

Kimi Raikkonen returned behind the wheel of Formula one machinery today for the first time since being dropped by Scuderia Ferrari at the end of 2009.

Raikkonen completed 80 laps of the Ricardo Tormo  Circuit in Valencia in a number of stints. No times were released as they wouldn't show a true representation of his performance. The car being used was a 2010 spec Renault R30 (without F-Duct) running on Pirelli demonstration rubber which performs differently to race tyres provided by the Italian firm.

Sporting a new helmet design, the Finn quickly aclimatised but conceded it would take him time to get used to the new tyres and his new team.
Raikkonen returns to the track tomorrow for another day's running before taking the wheel of Lotus' new challenger on February the 5th in Jerez.

Picture credit - & Lotus F1 Team